Ellen Noble (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria) and Emma White (CyclocrossWorld Development Team) returned from a brief jaunt of European racing to crush day 1 of the NBX Grand Prix of Cyclocross. After White took a commanding lead over the first half of the race, Noble surged back in response to take and hold onto a lead for the win, with White in 2nd. Behind the pair, Arley Kemmerer (Level Eleven Racing) would hunt Jenna Greaser (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria) over the much of the race, ending in a dicey sprint with Kemmerer ultimately taking 3rd.
Foregoing coverage of the starting grid, I set up camp on the long sand section to catch the leaders as they came through. The sand was loose, coarse, and relatively dry – not setting into rideable ruts, and virtually all racers opting to run.
Already a few seconds behind the leaders, Kemmerer, Kathleen Lysakowski (Joe’s Garage CX p/b BikeReg), and Kate Northcott (West Hill Shop), followed by the rest of the pack:
Check the different styles of carry technique in the three photos above, shot at the same point–under downtube, around headtube, and rolling the bike on the ground. I’m sure you could make up a reason why carrying or rolling would be preferred, but in practice, neither seemed superior to the other here.
Behind them, Kemmerer began to roll away from her race-mates and slowly reel back Greaser.
Eventually, Noble decided she had let White go get far enough and a chase was in order:
Coming through a series of flat 180-degree turns, White still had quite a gap, seemingly expanding her lead to ~15 seconds despite Noble’s effort. But the zig-zags offer sight lines between Noble and White, allowing each other to gauge their output, and offering a carrot to chase.
Somewhere on a far side of the course, White suffered a mechanical and was forced to pit – dissolving her lead on Noble.
Noble seemed to find new legs, and spared no time in capitalizing on White’s wasted effort, countering White’s attack…
With two laps to go, Noble’s gap only continued to grow, who was holding a 10 second advantage on White over the sand.
With 1 lap to go, the situation at the front remained the same: Noble led White with a comfortable gap. But at the world’s smallest flyover, Kemmerer was still setting the pace while Greaser followed.
As Noble came across the line for the win, the set up for the 3rd place sprint was occurring just behind.
After White crossed the line for
2nd with a wave to the crowd, all eyes were on the finishing straight, waiting for Greaser and Kemmerer.
As both riders came into view, something was amiss:
Kemmerer was sprinting; yet Greaser had sat up and was giving the universal sprinter’s gesticulation for “that wasn’t a clean finish!”
There was apparently a little bumping between the two riders on the finishing straight, but after review by the officials, the finish stands: Kemmerer took 3rd, and Greaser 4th.
Day one men’s report up soon.